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NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

General Studies – 1;


Topic:   Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

1) The historical evidence on the ‘Tiger of Mysore’ Tipu Sultan can be read as competing narratives ranging between visionary to freedom fighter to bigot. Discuss critically relevance and significance of such narratives today. (200 Words)

The Indian Express



  • Tipu was the son of Haider Ali, a professional soldier who climbed the ranks in the army of the Wodeyar king of Mysore, and ultimately took power in 1761. 
  • He was born in 1750 and, as a 17-year-old, fought in the first Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69) and subsequently, against the Marathas and in the Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84)
  • Haider died while this war was on, and Tipu succeeded him in 1782.


Fought the British

  • Tipu mounted the most serious challenge the Company faced in India. He allied with the French to frustrate its attempts to control the politics of the Deccan and Carnatic, and challenged its vital trading interests. 
  • He fought Company forces four times during 1767-99, and gave Governors-General Cornwallis and Wellesley bloody noses before he was killed defending his capital Srirangapatnam in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
  • With Tipu gone, Wellesley imposed the Subsidiary Alliance on the reinstated Wodeyar king, and Mysore became the Company’s client state


Modernised army

  • Tipu has so far been seen as a man of imagination and courage, a brilliant military strategist who, in a short reign of 17 years,
  • Tipu reorganised his army along European lines, using new technology, including what is considered the first war rocket. 


Agricultural reforms

  • He devised a land revenue system based on detailed surveys and classification, in which the tax was imposed directly on the peasant, and collected through salaried agents in cash, widening the state’s resource base. 
  • He modernised agriculture, gave tax breaks for developing wasteland, built irrigation infrastructure and repaired old dams, and promoted agricultural manufacturing and sericulture


Established trading posts

  • He built a navy to support trade, and commissioned a “state commercial corporation” to set up factories. As Mysore traded in sandalwood, silk, spices, rice and sulphur, some 30 trading outposts were established across Tipu’s dominions and overseas.


Annexations and religious persecutions

  • Haider and Tipu had strong territorial ambitions, and invaded and annexed territories outside Mysore. 
  • Haider annexed Malabar and Kozhikode, and conquered Kodagu, Thrissur and Kochi
  • Tipu raided Kodagu and Kochi
  • In Kodagu, Mangaluru and Malabar today, Tipu is seen as a bloodthirsty tyrant who burnt down entire towns and villages, razed hundreds of temples and churches, and forcibly converted Hindus. 
  • He was keen to subjugate Kodagu because it lay on the road from Mysore to Mangaluru, the port that Tipu wanted to control.
  • There is evidence that Tipu persecuted Hindus and Christians, but there is also evidence that he patronised Hindu temples and priests, and gave them grants and gifts. He donated to temples at Nanjangud, Kanchi and Kalale, and patronised the Sringeri mutt.
  • When linguistic states were formed in the 1950s, many regions that read their historical past differently were merged under a common linguistic identity. Kodagu, now part of Karnataka, has always seen Tipu as an invader, and the old Mysore state’s narrative of him as a moderniser would not be acceptable to Kodagu only because it is now the official state narrative.




Placing a personality in binary terms is neither rational nor progressive. Historical perspectives should be critically analysed only to study from the past so as to live in a better present and build a better tomorrow. Attempts to see such narratives in political,communal or religious lines to create divisions in society should be vehemently opposed.

Furthermore historical narratives are contextualised. Tipu is revered as builder of modern Karnataka in the partcular state whereas in areas like Malabar he is seen as tyrant who butchered masses.

It serves no purpose to view Tipu’s multilayered personality through the prism of morality or religion; it is not necessary that he be judged only in terms of either a hero or a tyrant.


General Studies – 2


 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.  

2) Reforms to the UN Security Council would require benevolence of the permanent members of the Security Council. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu



Efforts to expand UNSC

  • The then Secretary General Kofi Annan had given in his report, “In Larger Freedom” in 2005 has goiven two options.


Model A

  • It provided for six new permanent seats without the veto, and three new two-year term non-permanent seats, divided among the major regional areas.
  • Model A” was placed in the report at the insistence of the Indian representative, Gen. Satish Nambiar.


Model B

  • It provided for no new permanent seats but created a new category of eight four-year renewable-term seats and one new two-year non-permanent (and non-renewable) seat, divided among the major regional areas
  • Permanent members had supported “Model B”, which did not envisage any kind of expansion of permanent membership


Stand of Permanent members on expansion of UNSC and India


U.S. views

  • Nikki Haley, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, suggest that the American position on an expansion of the Security Council is evolving to favour India’s permanent membership without the power of the veto
  • If the only issue was protecting the veto of the U.S., the expansion could have taken place long ago, as no one had ever suggested that veto of the permanent members should be taken away. 
  • The new candidates were only demanding the same veto power for themselves, and the U.S. and other permanent members were firm in rejecting such demands.
  • U.S. is already on board, but there is need to focus on Russia and China, the two permanent members of the Security Council who do not want to see any changes.
  • When India put forward the proposal for an expansion of the non-permanent membership of the Security Council in 1979, the U.S. opposed it vehemently
  • But after the end of the Cold War, when the pressure mounted for expansion of permanent membership, the U.S. took the position that it could live with “one or two” additions to permanent membership, without identifying the countries.
  • During his visit to India in 2010, President Barack Obama had said he looked “forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.” This gladdened India, but the U.S. delegation did not take any follow-up action at the UN.
  • The compilation of the views of member states, published two years ago, clearly indicated that the U.S. merely favoured a “modest expansion”, without supporting any formula under consideration and no alteration or expansion of the veto. 
  • Unlike France and the U.K., the U.S. made no mention of support to India as a permanent member
  • Among the permanent members, the opinion of France was closest to India’s in the sense that it supported the addition of five new permanent members, including India, without any objection to veto being extended to them. 


Views of other members

  • The U.K. supported the G-4 without the power of veto
  • Russia, an old supporter of India, was non-committal 
  • China indicated that the time had not come for any serious negotiations on the subject.


Topic:  Functioning of judiciary

3) The designation of Senior Advocates in the judiciary has some symbolic purposes than substantial. In the light of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court for designating lawyers in the Supreme Court and High Courts as senior advocates, critically comment.(200 Words)

The Hindu



  • Lawyers are the backbone of Indian judiciary. There are two categories of lawyer in High Courts and Supreme Court –  Junior and Senior lawyers. 
  • Senior lawyers are those who have vast knowledge and experience of practice in such court and who have been specifically designated as senior lawyer. Junior lawyers in contrast have just started practicing in these court and most often than not help Senior lawyers.
  • The Supreme Court has laid down guidelines for designating lawyers in the Supreme Court and High Courts as senior advocates. 
  • Until now, the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts had the sole discretion of according this status to advocates





  1. Permanent secretariat with eminent panel
  • Committee for Designation of Senior Advocates will have a permanent secretariat.
  • It will consist of the Chief Justice of India, two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court/ High Courts, the Attorney General of India/ the Advocate General of State, and a member of the Bar to be nominated by the above four members


  • Now, applications will be vetted by the permanent committee that will publish the names of candidates on the respective courts’ websites to ensure transparency.

     3.Comprehensive selection process

  • All applications for designation of senior advocate will be submitted to the secretariat which will compile all the relevant information with regard to the reputation, conduct, integrity, participation in pro-bono work, reported judgments in which the advocate has appeared, etc. of the candidates. 
  • The committee will examine each candidate’s case, interview the candidate, and make its assessment based on a point-based format.
  • This system is transparent and objective, and provides equal opportunity to all candidates. 



  • There may be some reservation on the aspect of publishing names on the official website of the court and inviting suggestions as in the recent past, there have been reports of motivated complaints and objections. 
  • The secretariat should not be dragged into the quagmire of investigating frivolous complaints or objections.


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests 

4) India’s aspirations to attain South Asian Regional Leadership is catalysed through deeper ties with the US. Discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express




India’s dream of becoming a regional power in south-Asian region to support its multipolar world view in the changing geo-political dimension in the region can get push in right direction with increasing engagement with USA.


The present threats to India’s geopolitical influence in the South-Asia region:


  1. Chinese agressions
  • Increasing Chinese engagement in both military and economic (OBOR) spheres are challenges to India’s interests in the region.
  • China has formulated Free Trade deal with Maldives, CPEC in Pakistan, port development in Sri Lanka, deepening ties with Nepal and Bangladesh through “string of pearls” policy around India.

     2.Security of South Asia

  • Rising threat of instability in the neighbouring west Asia region due to terrorism and internal conflicts.
  • Pakistan and Afghanistan are the major source of terrorism in the region.


A deeper engagement with US will be beneficial to India in following areas


  1. Trade Engagement
  • Increased engagement with US in the trade sphere with potential of around $500 billion will provide India with economic strength to better engage in the region.

     2.Security Engagement

  • The status of important Defense partner to India, signing of LEMOA and increase in purchase of advanced defense equipment helps India emerge as net security provider in region. However India should be wary to ask for more role in Indian Ocean than in Asia Pacific.

     3.Geopolitical heft

  • The emergence of Quad comprising Australia-Japan-US-India provides greater influence in the geopolitics of the region. It will not only help to contain China in the region, but also act as an avenue for India to enhance its own heft.
  • India couls also demand more finances for development in the region from Asian Development Bank and World Bank, dominated by Japan and US against China’s OBOR.


  • The increased engagement with US in Afghanistan and resulting pressure on Pakistan will help in bringing peace at both internal and external level.




India should work towards engaging more with the other South-Asian partners at equal footing rather than the big brother attitude. With help from US India can help the whole region develop more which is still one of the most underdeveloped region of the world.


General Studies – 3


Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. 

5) Naxalism is a national security threat owing to incoherent and shifting ideological principles. Analyse. (200 Words)

The Hindu




Naxalism began a half century ago as an idealogical struggle in the aftermath of armed peasant movements, including the Telangana armed struggle and the Tebhaga movement (in Bengal). Naxalbari movement however seemed to follow a different trajectory. 


Earlier Maoist movement


  1. Intellectual heft
  • It was ignited by a small group of Bengal revolutionaries (all members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) formed in 1964) who felt disillusioned with the so-called embourgeoisement of the party which had only recently split from the CPI on the ground it had turned revisionist

     2.Chinese support

  • Breaking away from the CPI(M), this faction received almost instant endorsement from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Mao
  • This was followed by a few cadres visiting China to receive the benediction of the CCP. In course of time some of the cadres went to China for training.
  • It was in April 1969 that the movement took formal shape, with the coming into existence of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) under the leadership of Charu Mazumdar
  • It initially had a mesmeric effect, enthusing sections of the rural population as well as some semi-urban and urban elements mainly in the States of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. 
  • The Chinese Communists were keen that the new Naxalbari movement should follow the Chinese model of revolution relying on the peasantry, establishing base areas in the countryside and using the countryside to encircle and finally capture the cities. 


Why Maoist movement is changing?

  • The decline in the rate of Maoist successes — in the past year the numbers of those killed by the Maoists was hardly 20% of that in 2010 — and the relative success of the security forces, seems to have induced some rethinking in Maoist circles. 
  • There is growing demand today for a change in approach, and for a new direction.


More militarised than ideological

  • As the movement progressed, it became obvious that the Indian Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries preferred the Ho Chi Minh model to that of Mao
  • The CPI(ML), hence, consisted of both rural and semi-urban elements
  • In the early years, and till the 1990s, a number of recruits to the movement came from the urban intelligentsia.
  • Over the years, the concept of capturing the cities by mobilising the countryside has lost much of its steam. 
  • Far fewer recruits to the Maoist cause also came from the urban areas, especially the intellectual class. 
  • By the turn of the century, the movement had become increasingly militarised, more adept at so-called military actions and hardly retaining any of its intellectual élan.



  • As perceptions of a Maoist decline intensify, the CPI (Maoist) would move away from the previous traditional line and embark on a more violent path. This would be under a new leadership more attuned to such policies and techniques. 
  • The CPI (Maoist), bereft of ideology, could then drift towards becoming like any other militant or terror group active in different parts of the country. 
  • This could have graver consequences for the country since the CPI (Maoist) has a much wider base than any other militant outfit.

Topic:  Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security

6) Criminalising Cyber speech should carefully balance wrongful intent and free speech. Comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express





Cyber speech refers to the speech expressed on the cyberspace. This speech can be broadly of two genres, one which opines for certain political values and the other of the kind of hate speech which rests on false propaganda.


There are plethora of sections in IPC which criminalises speech on cyberspace, though they never meant to in their original form like Sections 295A, 124A, 153A, 505 that target acts ranging from malicious, to seditious, to disruptive of public order or morality, to violent, to plain mischievous.

In the light that Section 66A of the IT Act have been struck down in the Shreya Singhal case, there is a need to balance the criminalisation of cyber speech so that free speech is ensured and wrongful act is curbed.


  1. Maintain sanctity of Article 19
  • Right to speech is a fundamental right  and thus unabated criminalisation of speech is  against the principles of Constitution.
  • Article 19 in itself provides for reasonable restrictions, and therefore constitutionality of restricting speech should be reasonable.

     2.Alternate political voices important

  • No democracy is sustainable without constant questioning of the social mores and political class. 
  • Criminalisation would promote an intolerant society only and thus denying the right to dissent.

    3.Hate speech be curbed

  • Without denying the space for raising voice against discriminatory practices of culture or communities, hate speech should be curbed through effective mechanisms.
  • Social media websites can be asked to filter the content technologically by updating their algorithms.



  • Intervention of Supreme Court under Habeus corpus writ) on any cases of arrest or detention for alleged 
  • Executive officials be careful while criminalizing cyber speech on Grounds of natural justice(only as Last Resort)
  • Detailed Legislation/SC guidelines on wht is offensive and what isn’t.


Today about 64% of the readers gets her news online. With prevalence of Watsapp, facebook, etc. Social Media today influence more than it lets on. Lonewolf attacks today are blamed on Fake News. Cyber Crime thus must be Curbed, but only on grounds of restrictions mentioned in our Constitution.

Topic:  Land reforms in India; Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

7) Blockchain technology is at the forefront of a technological shift called disintermediation. What do you understand by disintermediation? Discuss significance of blockchain for land reforms. (200 Words)




What is disintermediation?

  • Disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in exchange processes that enables people to transact in a peer-to-peer fashion based on the trust provided by blockchain.
  • Andhra Pradesh government has taken steps to use blockchain technology for land titling.


Problems related to land


  1. Land disputes overburden judiciary  and incur costs on litigants
  • Of  7.5 million civil cases in district courts, more than 66% are related to land or property. 
  • Not only is the judiciary overburdened, the poor litigants are also losing Rs1,300 on average per day of court hearing in litigation costs and foregone business. 

     2.Centralised database and thus exclusion errors

  • At present, land ownership data is stored with the government in centralized ledgers (records). 
  • This means that the data can be accessed and modified only by the government. This is a problem because if this data is erroneously entered, lost or forged, the ledger will no longer represent the true ownership of assets. 


Significance for land reforms


  1. No exclusion errors as data is distributed over network
  • Blockchain allows the government to maintain a public ledger of asset-ownership in a distributed fashion. The data is stored on a network of devices and there is no central point of failure. 
  • It ensures trust by being transparent—it is visible for everyone to verify. 

     2.Ownership well defined

  • At the same time, it ensures privacy for the owner by ensuring that the ownership of the asset only changes hands after authorization.
  • Blockchain has the potential to represent what is economically meaningful about any asset—size, location, use-restrictions, etc.—linking it to the owner unambiguously, and tracking all future exchanges.



  • Secure land ownership will prove immensely beneficial for India’s poor. 
  • The poor in India do own things, but they don’t have a way to represent their property and create capital. They have houses but not titles; crops but not deeds; businesses but not statutes of incorporation. They produce all kinds of things—from clothing and footwear to leather bags and wrist watches. 
  • But due to missing documents of ownership, they are pushed into the unregulated sector of the economy—unable to access credit and public utilities like water and power. These enterprises of the poor are very much like corporations that cannot issue shares or bonds to obtain finance and investment. 
  • It will free the assets of the poorest Indians to create capital and enter the formal economy.
  • However, recognizing the present owners of the lands is a huge task in itself. GPS technology can be used to mark their lands on government maps and secure their property. Something similar must be done for the vast swathes of India’s countryside. 


General Studies – 4


Topic:   Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: 

8) What is ‘Conflict of Interest’? How do public servants face it during their work? What can be an effective way to resolve them? (150 Words)






An individual is a wide, multidimensional being. He has several interests, loyalties and duties. Conflict of Interest arises when these two interests or loyalities start competing with each other. In such a situation, judgement of an individulal could be impaired.

For example, a judge giving judgement in a case involving his own family member is a case of conflict of interest.


Public servants also faces Conflict of Interest due to the nature of their work-


  1. Personal vs Professional
  • This is the most common type of conflict of interest arising due to the conflict between personal and professional life. 
  • Say, if a public servant is incharge of giving out contracts for a certain project and one of the applicant is relative or friend.

     2.Conflicting Responsibility

  • Sometimes public servants are given additional charge, which might sometimes create a conflict of interest with the original line of duty.

     3.Conflicting Organisations

  • Sometimes public servants are part of two separate organisations with apparently conflicting objectives and this might put them in certain conflict of interest.
  • Many public servants also volunteer for NGOs during their service. NGOs and govermental organisation sometimes come at odds with each other.


Getting into a situation of conflict of interest is sometimes unavoidable and not a crime in itself if properly handled:



  • Declaring one’s conflict of interest to the concerned authorities is the best way. It helps civil servant to come clean and concerned authorities can decide further.


Assure integrity 

  • The concerned authority should be assured of integrity and willingness to serve no matter what the decision is made on the declaration.


Maintain objectivity

  • If given the chance to continue working on that case, work with objectivity.